With GoPro entering the drone market in dramatic fashion last week, we thought that now, ahead of DJI’s unveiling of their own foldable drone, to compare the Karma with the current market-leading quadcopter, the Phantom 4.
As with our previous VERSUS articles, we will be comparing the following criteria: What’s Included, Camera Specs, Appearance, Performance and Battery Life.
First things first, let’s check out their specifications:
DJI Phantom 4 Versus GoPro Karma: Key Features
Now it’s time to see which of these two recent entrants into the drone market comes out on top. The Karma is GoPro’s first attempt at a drone whereas DJI is the current consumer market leader. Have they been paying attention to what makes a successful aerial camera, or has the long-awaited release turned out to be an anti-climax?
1. WHAT’S INCLUDED?
Here’s what you can expect from the GoPro Karma and the DJI Phantom 4 out of the box:
Most of our readers will be familiar with the DJI Phantom 4. It’s a sleek, well-designed quadcopter that has advanced the aesthetic of DJI’s hugely popular Phantom range. An attractive matte white body broken up by the metallic finish on the motors sits above the 4K camera which is attached to a grey undercarriage. This is all held up by a pair of sturdy legs which also contain the drone’s intelligent collision avoidance sensors.
GoPro’s Karma is a different beast. A smaller, foldable design means that it is easy to pack away and take with you and this focus on modular construction also means that the camera can be removed and used as a handheld solution. Unsurprisingly, given the delayed release, GoPro have had plenty of time to make the Karma look good. While it doesn’t have the refined elegance and smooth edges of the Phantom 4 and the front-mounted camera may take some getting used to, the foldable black and white body certainly has a look all of its own.
The Phantom 4 is the result of years of R&D from DJI, creating the smartest quadcopter currently available. With a huge range of features including ActiveTrack (which enables it to intelligently follow moving subjects) and TapFly (which allows one touch take-off and landing, all while benefitting from DJI’s obstacle avoidance) the Phantom 4 offers undeniable variety and quality. There are also flight features such as ‘Sport Mode’ which allows the P4 to reach speeds of up to 45mph.
With an impressive array of functionality including the ability to intelligently avoid obstacles as well as being exceptionally easy to use, the Phantom 4 is a very high-quality quadcopter which is also becoming increasingly affordable.
The GoPro Karma has fewer bells and whistles than the Phantom 4 but makes up for it with ease of use. While the action camera company hasn’t released a debut that will astonish seasoned drone users, there’s plenty of scope for first-time users and loyal GoPro users to get a lot of enjoyment from the Karma. With a respectable 35mph top speed and three possible camera variations, there should be enough to keep recreational drone users happy.
There’s also the modular design to factor in with its detachable camera and foldable arms, this allows for variety in shooting and also easy transport to and from your desired locations. There’s also a dedicated custom-made controller which doesn’t require a smartphone (unlike DJI’s controllers) however, this means that if anything happens to its screen you’ll need to buy an entirely new controller.
Out of the two drones, the Phantom 4 has more in-depth functionality and benefits greatly from DJI’s experience in the market. While the Karma has been called the more accessible of the two by many reviews across other sites, we would like to point out that the Phantom 4 is by no means difficult to get to grips with. The decision essentially rests with whether you’re willing to pay slightly more for access to an increased suite of features.
4. BATTERY LIFE
With a powerful 5,350 mAh battery, the Phantom 4 can stay in the air for almost 30 minutes. However, bear in mind that achieving a maximum flight time depends on suitable weather conditions. There’s also the fact that the extensive range of features can also be a drain on the power supply, so keep this in mind when operation the Phantom 4.
Despite being smaller and lighter, the Karma has a shorter flight time of 20 minutes. This could be a drawback when attempting to capture GoPro’s trademark action shots and will require you to pack more batteries for lengthy shoots.
5. CAMERA SPECS
DJI’s Phantom 4 comes with an impressive 4K camera which enables it to achieve great ISO levels and allows for still images at 12MP quality. These stills offer vibrant colour in both RAW and JPEG formats. When it comes to video, the Phantom 4 offers 4096×2160 pixels at 25fps and 4K UHD at 30fps. If you don’t need the full 4K treatment, there’s also the option shoot in 2K and Full HD as well as 720p HD, the latter of which is fed to your controller in real-time.
The P4 also includes two front mounted visual sensors which enable its obstacle avoidance mode and ensure that as long as it’s facing forward, you’re prevented from flying into anything that could damage the aircraft.
The GoPro Karma offers more options when it comes to filming as it is compatible with three cameras; the Hero Black 5, Hero Session 5 and Hero4. As is to be expected from a camera company, these are solid options. Depending on how much you’re looking to spend, from the Hero4 all the way up to the Hero Black 5 which they bill as “Simply the best GoPro, ever.” If you opt for the top end you can expect the same specs as the Phantom 4’s camera (4K footage and 12MP stills), and if you already own one of the aforementioned cameras, there’s an option to purchase the Karma without one included so you can easily fit your own.
At the top end of the camera spectrum, there isn’t much separating these two drones. However, it’s the additional sensors which bring the Phantom 4 out on top. While it is a good idea for GoPro to enable various cameras at different price points, the P4’s integrated 4K unit handily competes with even the most expensive GoPro option.
Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider blog for insights into new products and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.
Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2016/09/26/gopro-karma-versus-dji-phantom-4/